Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

Does Family Support Matter? the Influence of Support Factors on Entrepreneurial Attitudes and Intentions of College Students

Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

Does Family Support Matter? the Influence of Support Factors on Entrepreneurial Attitudes and Intentions of College Students

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Entrepreneurship has long been identified as a critical driving force of economic growth and prosperity (Van Praag & Versloot, 2007). College-age students' propensity toward entrepreneurial actions is a key variable in shaping the entrepreneurial environment of cities, as college graduates may consider entrepreneurship as their career path (Roudaki, 2009). Research has suggested that entrepreneurial intentions are an immediate predictor of entrepreneurial activity (See Bird, 1988 for original work on the topic; See Krueger, Reilly, & Carsrud, 2000 for a summary in the literature), which is the inspiration for an inquiry about what may influence students' entrepreneurial intentions in the first place (Kuehn, 2008; Lee, Wong, Foo, & Leung, 2011). The extant literature on this area of research suggests that entrepreneurial intentions are generally shaped by the perceived desirability and perceived feasibility of entrepreneurship (Shapero & Sokol, 1982). Perceived desirability, in this context, is defined as the attractiveness of starting a business, while perceived feasibility refers to the degree to which an individual feels capable of starting a business (Shapero, 1975). Furthermore, this literature has also advanced that both desirability and feasibility are influenced by exogenous factors such as personal traits, demographics, and external support (Krueger et al., 2000; Luthje & Franke, 2003; Peterman & Kennedy, 2003; Shapero & Sokol, 1982).

Yet, findings on the relationship between external support factors and college students' entrepreneurial intentions have not been fully consistent (Zellweger, Sieger, & Halter, 2011). Autio, Keeley, Klofsten, and Ulfstedt (1997), for example, established the presence of a negative relationship between university environment support and students' entrepreneurial intention. In contrast, Luthje and Franke (2003) and Turker and Selcuk (2009) reported a positive relationship between perceived college environment as a support factor and college students' entrepreneurial intentions. Schwarz, Wdowiak, Almer-Jarz, and Breitenecker (2009) found that there is no significant relationship between environmental support factors and college students' entrepreneurial intentions, yet they found a direct relationship between perceived university support and entrepreneurial intentions of college students. The inconsistent findings on the relationship between support factors and entrepreneurial intentions reinforce the need to further examine the relationship between support factors and entrepreneurial intentions (Bae, Qian, Miao, & Fiet, 2014) in particular the role of the support of family and friends (Schwarz et al., 2009). The inability by universities to adequately identify the support factors and their influence on the entrepreneurial intentions of their students can negatively influence entrepreneurial activities of college students (Luthje & Franke, 2003). In particular, this may lead to unsuccessful institutional efforts to support entrepreneurial actions and entrepreneurship ecosystems (Markusen, 1996; Nambisan & Baron, 2013). This is critical because college students can be prime candidates for entrepreneurial activities as they are preparing to join the job market and their thoughts are focused on their future careers (Byabashaija & Katono, 2011).

To help bring clarity in the literature regarding the relationship between external support and college students' entrepreneurial intentions and to answer the call from Fayolle and Linan (2014) that researchers should further examine the role of context and institutions in future entrepreneurial intention research, we use an expanded model of entrepreneurial intentions to identify three support factors that may influence college students' entrepreneurial inclinations. Specifically, we explore the influence that family support, university support, and structural support may have on college students' entrepreneurial attitudes and intentions. …

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